Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Lucky or Unlucky 7/7/07??

The day started out crazy, trying to get everyone ready and out the door so we could leave by 10 am for a trip to Chicagoland. We were headed to Naperville on Saturday to attend a cousin's daughter's high school graduation party. We'll spend the night and head home on Sunday. I was really looking forward to the trip - it had been a long time since I was on a road trip and I was especially eager to see my cousins (these are the cousins I went 12 years of elem/hs with) and finally have them meet Carlos and Elena. We decided to rent a car because our car has a lot of miles on it (we're just hanging on to it until we leave ) and the a/c recently went out - temps were to be in the 90's. So we needed dependable wheels with air. All was well. We stopped at McD's - the kids don't like the food, they like the toy. So we buy more Happy than Meal! Soon it was around 2 pm, about 45 minutes from our hotel, where we'd register, quickly change, then head to the pool party. Perfect day for a swim - sunny and hot.

We were at the I-294/I-80 split - the three lanes of 294 were crusin' and the 2 lanes of I-80 were at a standstill. We were traveling the far right lane of I-294, getting ready for the toll road ahead. All of a sudden, a car from the I-80 lanes swings into our lane, hits a car, which then hits us. We spin around and slam into another car, which then bounces into one more car. Five cars hit. I'm screaming, Gustavo is shaking (he's driving) and the kids are silent. I turn around and Elena is sitting there dazed and Carlos is covered in glass from the shattered window next to him. Thankfully, he dozed off a few minutes before and his eyes were closed when we were hit. The only door that was working was on my side. So we got out safely, cleaned the glass from Carlos (it even got into his underwear!) and then the IL State Police came, etc. No one was hurt and no ambulances were called. By 5:30 pm we were back on the road with a police report, shaken confidence and a replacement car. Carlos said as we headed back on I-294 - "I think those cars learned their lesson - no more crashes". We made it to the pool party and were able to spend some time with my cousins who I probably won't see for quite a while.

Our hotel was comfortable, we had a huge breakfast and were on the road by 10 am CT and home around 3:30 ET. The efffect of Saturday's events really didn't hit me until Sunday night, as I lay awake, my mind racing, thinking of the calls to the insurance company to be made in the morning, etc. We were unlucky that we were involved in a car accident, but extremely lucky no one was hurt and we were togther. As I kissed my three angels goodnight, my thoughts were jolted back to just how in a split second our world could have ended. And how much too often I take for granted the premise of "there's always tomorrow". Maybe this was a test to see how this family handles the unexpected and the unexplained - two things I'm sure that we'll face in China over and over.

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